The WARN Act in Florida

Feb 17, 2024
/
6 mins to read
The WARN Act in Florida

Discover what it means to be protected by the WARN Act in Florida, the provisions set aside to protect employees, their families and communities.

Introduction 

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, is a federal labor law that protects employees from unexpected layoffs and plant closures. The law ensures accountability and transparency from the employer and prevents sudden economic instability for the employees. The WARN Act varies between states with states such as New York and California having individual provisions, however, Florida follows the federal government regulations. In this blog, we will discuss the WARN Act, its requirements, which employees are covered, resources and provide insights into layoff trends in Florida.

When is a WARN Act Notice Required?

Employers are required to give a WARN Act notice under the following circumstances:

1 - Mass layoffs

Where an employer lays off full-time employees at a single site of employment. To be classified as a mass layoff covered under the WARN Act, the employer has to have laid off between 50-499 employees, if they represent 33% of the active labor. Alternatively, a mass layoff is categorized as the layoff of 500 or more employees excluding part-time employees. 

2 - Plant Closures

This refers to the closure of a facility or an operating unit within a single site of employment. A minimum of 50 full-time workers must have been laid off for a WARN Act notice to be issued.

Who is Covered under the WARN Act?

For an employee to be covered under the WARN Act, they must be part of a private non-profit, private for profit or quasi public entity organization that fits the following criteria:

  1. A business with 100 or more full-time employees, excluding employees with less that 6 months on the job.
  2. A business with 100 or more employees that work a minimum of 4,000 hours a week in total. 

Employees who may lose their jobs due to bumping or displacement by other workers must also be notified under the WARN Act. 

For all those wondering what bumping means, it refers to the process where organizations give priority to senior employees during downsizing. This may result in employees losing their positions therefore, the need to provide a notice under the WARN Act. 

It is admittedly difficult to identify the specific employees that may be affected by bumping, therefore in such a situation, the employer is required to provide the notice the current holders of the prospective positions. 

Who is not Covered under the WARN Act?

Although the following employees are not entitled to a WARN Notice, they are still entitled to a notice.

  1. Employees that have worked less than six months within the past year.
  2. Employees that work an average of less than 20 hours per week.
  3. Federal, state and local government employees.
  4. Employees contracted under temporary projects and are made aware of the terms.
  5. Strikers or employees locked out in a labor dispute. 
  6. Business partners, consultants, contract employees assigned to a given business but are employed by separate entities or are self employed. 

Provisions under the WARN Act 

Employers are required to submit a written notice 60 days before the date of the mass layoff or plant closure. 

It must be assigned to,

  1. The State Rapid Response Coordinator
  2. The chief elected official of the local government within the site. 

Furthermore, the employer must give notice to the chief elected officer of the representative or bargaining agency of the given employees. If they do not have representatives, the notice must be given to the individual employee.

The Notice must contain the following:

  1. The name and address of the employment site.
  2. Specificity on the nature of the mass layoff or plant closure. Is it permanent or temporary?
  3. The reason behind the mass layoff or plant closure. 
  4. The number of employees and their positions affected with the layoff or plant closure.
  5. The name and contact information of a company official for additional information. 
  6. Declaration of bumping rights if applicable.

Conclusion

It is important to seek out resources to further educate yourself on your rights as an employee in Florida. Some resources to consider using as you continue to research are: 

  1. WARN Database, this database has created a graphic complete with data on the WARN Act Notices from 1998 till present. The graphics allows for a visualization on the trends that have followed Florida Layoffs and additionally has compiled Notices from big companies such as Chewy Inc, DHL Group and Spirit Airlines. 
  2. Florida Commerce, which is complete with state and federal resources that you are welcome to use at your disposal.

 Overall, with the provision of numerous resources, you no longer have any excuses. Educate yourself and become conversant with your labor rights.

Ruby Janira
Ruby Janira

Ruby is a Marketing and Content Intern at Litespace. She is eager to apply her background in communications to transform thoughts into words and ideas into engaging narratives.

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